Wednesday, December 12, 2018

West Side farms wrap up 2018 growing season

Carrie Nader, co-owner of Westside Tilth Farm
By Ashley Ziomek and Kyle Fallon
Buffalo Review – West Reporters
            When Carrie Nader looked out her window in July, her eyes were greeted by rows of tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and more. Today, her urban farm, Westside Tilth,  paints a bleaker scene, beginning to blend in to the cold city buildings that surround, with different shades of gray mixed in with the white snow.
            With the Buffalo winter ahead, it is time for local farms to begin wrapping up their season. This year’s end begins with the wrapping of any remaining produce, final market sales  and plans for next year based off results from the 2018 season.
            “It’s all experimenting,” Nader said.
            With co-owner Alex Wadsworth, Nader is finishing the first year of Westside Tilth as an operational farm in the heart of the West Side.  
“It’s figuring out what we can grow, what works and what didn’t. We’re very tiny, so we have to be super picky about what we continue to grow,” Nader said. “it’s not so much new crops, but new techniques.”
Broccolini for example, was something the farm will not continue next season due to low production rates.
            Located on a quarter acre of land on Normal Avenue, Westside Tilth produces seasonal salad mixes, root vegetables, alliums, microgreens and more. 
According to Smart CitiesConnect, Buffalo was one of the first locations in the country to have a major zoning overhaul, allowing produce grown in backyards to be sold to, and by, locals. Urban farms also are supported by Buffalo’s Green Code, established in 2010.
Just over a mile down the road sits 5 Loaves Farm, another provider of organic produce for the community. It also offers youth internships and educational services.
            Established in 2012, the farm began with three garden lots. Now, it spans 15 lots on West Delavan and West avenues and features a wide variety of produce such as root vegetables and leafy greens and some popular in Asian dishes.
Matt Kauffman, manager, 5 Loaves Farm
             “Overall, it’s been a pretty good year,” said Matt Kauffman, farm manager.  
Working with charter and public schools such as Nardin Academy and Tapestry Charter, the farm offers paid internships in an effort to educate and support high school students.
Sponsored through Say Yes Buffalo, these educational funds also support teens year-round at nearby Massachusetts Avenue Project.
“We can’t help but look to the future,” said Erin Carmin, development director at MAP.
The year featured the construction of a farmhouse to replace one lost to fire. MAP raised $2.4 million towards the new facility.
“We had a lot of support from the community, which led to a lot of support from the state,” Carmin said. “Some farming just had to be put on hold due to construction.”
Organizers hope to move into the new farmhouse this month, right around the time they will start planning for the next growing season, a mere six months away.